Diabetes mellitus continues to be one of the leading causes of death in America. Diabetes mellitus leads to several complications such as cardiovascular diseases (CVD), end-stage renal disease (ESRD) and retinopathy. It for this reason that scientists and researchers have intensified efforts to identify better types of treatment and diagnostic techniques for diabetes mellitus. These efforts have come in the shape of research projects conducted in a bid to find out new information in the area (Shah & Garg, 2015). This paper will describe on such project and summarize the main idea of the project and its findings.
The American Diabetes Association recently ran an article titled Randomized Trial of Telephone Outreach to Improve Medication Adherence and Metabolic Control in Adults With Diabetes. The article talks about how new applications to the currently existing modes of communication can improve the care delivery process to the patients with diabetes. This case, in particular, described how care was delivered to a patient group that was poorly controlled via the use of live telephone calls. The project does not only endorse the use of communications; the modern type of technology-based interventions put emphasis on emails, web-based programs, pagers, mobile phones and the internet (Shah & Garg, 2015).
What’s more, the communication devices are used to monitor and assess the health statuses of diabetic patients. Furthermore, healthcare providers such as nurses can address the signs and symptoms; they could also foster adaptations in multiple areas of management of diabetes mellitus. This project case tried to achieve better adherence to medication and better glycemic control by a diabetic patient via telephone calls. The goal of this project was to increase the programs of self-management support (SMS). SMS seeks to provide the patients with diabetes with the necessary tools, support, and information to manage their health care problems by themselves (Shah & Garg, 2015). The project has taken more evidence-based methods of monitoring patients and interventions that would otherwise have had to be done in the hospital to the patients’ real-world. It has adapted these interventions and evidence-based methods to the patients’ lifestyle, age, and culture.
Moreover, this project has proven to be cheaper to the diabetic patient and the healthcare provider as compared to the old methods. It is more affordable and time-saving because it can reach out to the high-risk diabetic patients who for some reason to regularly fail to honor the doctor’s appointment. The telephone-based intervention was solely focused on cutting down the A1C(O’Connor et al., 2014). Adherence to diabetes medication was the proximal mechanism of change that was put into the response.
This SMS program was developed with a clear target outcome giving it an edge over other SMS programs. Most of the other SMS applications are built to only address the far-fetched goal of better glycemic control (Whitehead & Seaton, 2016). They hope to achieve better glycemic control for the diabetic patient through short-term objectives like weight reduction, more exercise or adherence to medication; most, however, fail to address the proximal change goals. The implication is that the other SMS programs devalue the proximal goals because their primary aim is the achievement of the distal goal (O’Connor et al., 2014). It is possible that diabetic patients can learn how to adhere to insulin therapy or exercise better or lose weight without necessarily learning how to manage their blood glucose.
The active telephone call intervention targeted a particular population. The inclusion criteria reported by the study was specific. The study focused on diabetic patients who came from a single ethnic group, had been linked to a respected union, rarely went to the hospital for care and were poorly controlled. There was a lot of effort put into addressing the target group via cultural cues from their ethnicity making the telephone calls look suited and tailored to the patients’ culture and lifestyle (O’Connor et al., 2014). The unions to which they belonged were to be used as an efficient means to reach them. The success of this telephone program was evident in the high level of patient uptake and low attrition levels. Even the choice of media was thoroughly screened by the researcher; phone calls enhanced the ability to engage the diabetic patients through live contact (O’Connor et al., 2014). This specification to the target population set the tone for other SMS programs in the pipeline to consider the diabetic patient’s characteristics. The patient characteristics could be ethnicity, age, sex, culture, specific diabetic complications, preference and experience of the patient with the given media.
The project was seen as a successful means of enhancing the self-management and support system for diabetic patients. This conclusion was reached based on the high uptake and low attrition in the live telephone call project which led to better adherence to diabetes medication. The project further proved that the Telephone calls are cheaper and time-saving for the diabetic patients than having to go the hospital.
The project, however, had some limitations that would need to be addressed by the SMS designers. First was the sustainability of the live telephone calls programs as a means of conveying adherence messages, evidence-based methods to the diabetic patients (Whitehead & Seaton, 2016). Here, the question of cost arises; it may be expensive to sustain live telephone calls with patients (O’Connor et al., 2014). The study, however, recommended that the nurses and doctors establish live contact during the beginner sessions or occasionally to reduce cost. Secondly, was the issue of integration of the live telephone calls to the ongoing care of the diabetic patients. Though most rarely go to the hospital, it would still be important to integrate what has been taught and done at home via the live phone call into the care in the hospital. Integration would ensure continuity of attention. Currently, the live telephone call project acts as a stand-alone intervention. The study recommended inclusion in the diabetic patients’ records in the hospital (O’Connor et al., 2014).
In a nutshell, this paper has described a project; the live telephone call SMS project. There is a need for emphasis on research on better treatment and diagnostic techniques for diabetes because as we know, its complications can be devastating. The paper has shown how the project is a cheaper, efficient and time-saving approach to reach the diabetic patients at home. There have been comparisons with other SMS projects that the paper has used to show why the telephone call plan is better than the other SMS programs. The phone call plan is tailored for specific diabetic patients, a culture the other SMS designers should follow. The paper has also highlighted the limitations of the study such as sustainability issues and poor integration of hospital care. The researcher made recommendations to alleviate the situation that the paper has touched on.
O’Connor, P., Schmittdiel, J., Pathak, R., Harris, R., Newton, K., & Ohnsorg, K. et al. (2014). Randomized Trial of Telephone Outreach to Improve Medication Adherence and Metabolic Control in Adults With Diabetes. Diabetes Care, 37(12), 3317-3324. http://dx.doi.org/10.2337/dc14-0596
Shah, V. & Garg, S. (2015). Managing diabetes in the digital age. Clinical Diabetes And Endocrinology,1(1). http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s40842-015-0016-2
Whitehead, L. & Seaton, P. (2016). The Effectiveness of Self-Management Mobile Phone and Tablet Apps in Long-term Condition Management: A Systematic Review. Journal Of Medical Internet Research, 18(5), e97. http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/jmir.4883